Tet Singing Cure (Almost a Ghost)


for children and their caretakers during wartime

Co Tu sang   not sleeping
  the lamp lit
one year old toddler me near-death
war attack aftermath with stomach sickness
   having eaten corn   the available food
         in the form of western aid
  meager rations and poor water
the girl alone took ill

   a tall front door and white orchids
parquet flooring   toddler floppy
  sick or dying
  not dying
      rocked in the baby hammock
to singing non-stop   Co Tu sang

  not sleeping   the lamp lit
and sung thru the night   alive the baby
in the hammock   sway to keep death
the wee girl
in the hammock
between    = = =    talking across time

    dirt-heavy in hands
   in need of sung protection

singing again
  since then
writing this

Hoa Nguyen was born on the Mekong Delta, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada. She is the author of several books, including Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008, and Violet Energy Ingots. Her recent poetry collection A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure was a finalist for a Kingsley Tufts Award, National Book Award, and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

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